BASF Agricultural Solutions UK

Combines are rolling for our OSR video diarists

It maybe late but harvest is happening. And considering the season, crops are looking well for our OSR video diarists. Here we catch up with Tim, Mike, Steve and Adrian to find out the latest.

Mike Wilton, Norfolk on 10th August

“So far we’ve cut 30% of our OSR and we are hoping to finish before the end of the week. But it’s slow progress.

“All our OSR grow has shatter resistance and we routinely apply a pod sealant, just in case we find ourselves in this eventuality. As I stand here today, there’s definitely no evidence of shelling out.

“We drill our crops in blocks. The OSR is effectively on three farms, geographically spread over 8 miles. Our plan is to start one end and work our way to the other. I’ll put the pod sealant on 10 days to two weeks before the crops are likely to be ready for desiccation and then we’ll apply the glyphosate over three or four days. This helps spread the harvest. The pod sealant allows me to be slightly later with the glyphosate – I’m trying to maximise output by maximising oil content.

“The showers have just been frustrating. We were hoping to be able to harvest some OSR today - 10th August - but doesn’t look we can. We’ve now got spring barley and winter wheat ready to harvest too. And while we’ll still combine the OSR first - it’s still the most vulnerable crop - every day that passes, risks losing quality in the others. Some might call it Hobsons choice.

“My hopes are always for high oil and yield. I’ve not seen the oil test results yet but anecdotally they are a little on the low side. Yield is likely to be a little disappointing too. They had high potential and they haven’t quite met expectation but given the spring, I’m not sure my expectations were wholly realistic. I expect we’ll average a little over 4t/ha.

“This is certainly the latest we’ve ever had OSR acreage to combine. It won’t affect our rotation but it will stretch resources and probably the quality of this year’s crop.”

Steve Crayston, Essex on 24th August

“It's been a little bit stop and start with the weather. But now we're getting annoyed. We took an early decision actually to, to hire in a second combine. Because we could see a clash between our borage and wheat. It rocked up about four or five days before any borage was ready.

The OSR was very average at 3t/ha. It’s about what we normally get and what I expected. I thought there was some bits that might have done just a little bit better than they did. And there were a couple of bits that let the side down a bit. But that's how it is. It's never it's never straightforward.

Some was affected by pigeon grazing and some was definitely flea beetle damage. We’ve fields next door to each other with a tonne of yield difference and why don’t know why. One is bigger and therefore the headlands have less of an impact but otherwise they are very similar and were drilled just a day apart.

Conditions were perfect so I’ve drilled two thirds of this years crop already. The final third is still languishing with a spring barley crop in it at the moment. That crop doesn't look very inspiring as it got a bashed by the 30mm of rain that fell in just 1.5hr two days ago on Sunday morning.

I’m hoping that this will put the bulk of the crop ahead of the cabbage stem flea beetle’s migration. Everything this years seems to be 10 days to a fortnight late and I’m hoping the same will be true of this pest’s main flight. We’ve a northerly flow of wind at the moment and while it’s pleasant it’s not a warm day. Hopefully it will help them take a backseat for the time being? But who knows? We didn't see anywhere near as many beetle in the stores this year. Quite often the shed floor looks like it is moving as they march to the door in one long trail. We’ve just not had that this year.”

Tom Hoggan, Berwickshire on 25th August

“Harvest is a bit frustrating at the moment. While it's dry and warm there’s not a lot of wind and we keep getting dew every night. It’s taking a while to burn off so we’re not able to start combining until early afternoon.

We’ve harvested 500ha of our 700ha of OSR so far – that’s everything that had been sprayed and was fit to go. Last week we were focused on the spring barley and now we’re back onto the OSR this week.

Given crops were hammered by frosts at flowering and we weren’t sure what impact it would have, the OSR has done quite well and we’re currently averaging 4.85t/ha. For context, our five year average is 4.9t/ha. The Inv1035 did well and averaged 5t/ha.

We started drilling next year’s OSR crop into barley land on 16th August and the first crops are starting to come through. It’s ideal conditions for establishment at the moment with both warmth and moisture in soils. This year we’re aiming to Cambridge roll all our OSR. The additional consolidation helps with slug control and soil-to-seed contact. We’ll hopefully be all drilled up by the beginning of September.”